Press Release

Global Financing Facility launches $1.2 billion funding campaign to stop secondary health crisis for women and children due to COVID-19 pandemic

Urgent call part of total $2.5. billion needed by 2025 to reclaim pre-pandemic health gains, save 18 million lives

March 22, 2021, WASHINGTON DC – The Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) has launched a US$ 1.2 billion fundraising campaign to support the world’s poorest countries to protect and “reclaim the gains” on the health of women, children and adolescents made before the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will support communities to access the services they need, helping to save lives, and build the human capital needed for a resilient recovery.

The impact of COVID-19 has laid bare existing vulnerabilities and equity disparities which threaten to grow even wider without urgent action. Across GFF’s 36 partner countries there has been up to a 25 percent drop in coverage of essential health interventions, hitting women and children the hardest. In several countries, financial resources for essential health services have been diverted and households impacted by economic hardship cannot afford basic healthcare.

Days after the pandemic was declared, the GFF, alongside its partners, sounded the alarm about the significant disruptions for women, children and adolescents to access lifesaving health and nutrition services. Many partners, including donors, civil society and the private sector have all stepped up to support vulnerable countries, but now is the time to double down on these efforts. Ongoing GFF-supported country monitoring has reaffirmed significant service delivery disruptions in low- and lower-middle income countries.

New funding to the GFF will build on its ongoing support to partner countries to help strengthen supply chains to secure access to essential medicines and COVID-19 tools, increase the capacity of the community health workforce, scale up innovations in service delivery and scale up cash transfer programs to help the poorest pay for services.

The GFF is working closely with global partners as part of the ACT-Accelerator to help countries prepare for rapid, equitable, and safe delivery of vaccines and tools at scale while ensuring continuity of essential health services. The GFF is also supporting global partners as part of the Generation Equality Forum to ensure that gender equality and the provision of sexual and reproductive health services are part of inclusive recovery efforts.

The GFF’s fundraising campaign will help countries to save an additional 5 million lives by 2025, and 18 million by 2030, through expanded access to essential services. By 2025:

  • More than 56 million additional women will be able to access skilled birth attendants to ensure they survive childbirth and deliver their babies safely, 
  • 458 million additional children will receive oral rehydration treatment for diarrhea, to prevent a major cause of child deaths, 
  • and almost 25 million additional women and adolescents will gain access to modern methods of contraception, to prevent unintended pregnancies.

The US$1.2 billion raised will cover the 2021-2023 period and will be channelled through the GFF’s innovative country-led model to help leverage a total of US$52.7 billion to improve health outcomes for women, children and adolescents by 2030. The 2021 fundraising goal is part of the GFF’s overall US$2.5 billion funding target for 2021–2025 that will enable the GFF to expand from 36 to 50 countries, contribute to saving an estimated 18 million lives, and mobilize US$52.7bn in health financing by 2030.

The GFF Trust Fund, directly linked to World Bank IDA and IBRD financing, creates a multiplier effect, by aligning domestic and international resources around costed national plans underpinned by priority reforms and innovations adapted to local contexts.

Honorable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, Canada, said: “As a founding partner, Canada sees the GFF as a key partnership and critical mechanism for helping countries deliver on the promise of gender equality and access to lifesaving health and nutrition services. We must not let COVID-19 continue to erode years of hard-won gains, but come together to ensure that all women, children and adolescents can survive and thrive.”

Mari Pangestu, World Bank Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, said: “To ensure that the impact of COVID-19 does not turn back the clock for women, children and adolescents, we must put women at the center of response and recovery, including building better, more inclusive health systems. The Global Financing Facility and World Bank's powerful collaboration is helping countries to strengthen frontline service delivery of essential health services and COVID-19 tools and get back on track towards a more equitable and prosperous future.”

Honorable Eugene Aka Aouele, Minister of Health, Cote D’Ivoire, said: “Alongside dramatic increases in gender-based violence, job losses, and increases in unpaid care – losing access to basic and often life-saving health services is another example of women, adolescents and children bearing the brunt of secondary impacts of this pandemic. It doesn’t have to be this way. The GFF model is a long-term approach, led by countries. This urgent funding will ensure countries can address newfound challenges now and continue to strengthen health systems to deliver healthcare in the years to come.”

Pr Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Minister of State, Senegal, said: "I am proud to see Senegal partner with the Global Financing Facility’s urgent and critical work to ensure that women, children and adolescents do not get left behind as part of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The international community and governments have a window of opportunity right now that will decide the fate of millions of women, children and adolescents: it’s time to double down on efforts to protect and maintain essential health services and put women and girls at the center of recovery."

Pauline Irungu, PATH and CSO representative, said: “Investing in the GFF now is one of the best investments the international community can make. Now more than ever, the GFF can unleash the large-scale transformation needed that enables countries to lead a COVID-19 response and recovery that delivers on the fundamental needs for women, children and adolescents – the right to health.”

Muhammad Ali Pate, Director of the GFF, said: “Many of the world’s poorest countries were making transformational changes– prioritizing high impact services and increasing domestic investments to support better health outcomes. We are calling for urgent action from the international community to help reclaim the gains and support country leaders who are driving progress toward a resilient recovery and to honor the global commitment for a healthy and productive future for all women, children and adolescents.”

More information is available in the Case for Investment and on the GFF website.

Contact: Nansia Constantinou; | +1 202.458.5008

About the Global Financing Facility

The Global Financing Facility (GFF) is a multi-stakeholder partnership of the World Bank that supports country-led efforts to improve the health of women, children and adolescents. With the GFF, countries are making smarter, more prioritized, results-focused investments toward greater impact on the health, nutrition and well-being of women, children and adolescents; building capacity for more sustainable funding for this agenda; and exploring more innovative ways to work with the private sector. Since the GFF was founded in 2015, partner countries have made significant progress to improve maternal and child health. Learn more here: Annual report.